Automation and Education (News and Research 99)

Automation and labor market outcomes: the pivotal role of high-quality education

aaa0000001.pngAutomation will be a boon or a catastrophe depending on whom you listen to. This paper proposes an overlapping-generations model with endogenous school choice in which the quality of a country’s education system determines how well skill supply can respond to increased demand from automation and subsequently whether automation will be beneficial or detrimental. In this sense, education quality in the model offers a bridge between the optimistic and pessimistic perspectives on automation. In testing the model’s assumptions, the paper finds evidence that educational attainment, cognitive skills, and select noncognitive skills are associated with avoiding automation-prone occupations. Consistent with the model’s predictions, census data indicate that countries have historically relied most on these types of occupations at middle-income status. The model and empirical findings suggest that it is middle-income countries that are most vulnerable to automation if their education systems are unable to affect cognitive and noncognitive skills sufficiently. As a result, automation may herald a much different growth model for developing countries: one in which developing these skills is central.

The Long-Run and Gender-Equalizing Impacts of School Access: Evidence from the First Indochina War  Very few studies currently exist on the long-term impacts of schooling policies in developing countries. This paper examines the impacts—half a century later—of a mass education program conducted by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the occupied areas during the First Indochina War. Difference-in-difference estimation results suggest that school-age children who were exposed to the program obtained significantly higher levels of education than their peers who were residing in French-occupied areas. The impacts are statistically significant for school-age girls and not for school-age boys. The analysis finds beneficial spillover and inter-generational impacts of education: affected girls enjoyed higher household living standards, had more educated spouses, and raised more educated children. The paper discusses various robustness checks and extensions that support these findings.

Why PISA is an important milestone for education in Belarus

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000a.jpgIn April and May 2018, children all over Belarus took tests for the international study Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). When students’ skills and knowledge are measured internationally, some countries get a big surprise – especially countries considered to have top-quality education. Take Germany, for example. Germany’s first PISA results, in 2000, revealed low performance among students compared to their peers in other countries – this was called the “PISA shock”. Fortunately, this outcome triggered large-scale education reforms in Germany, leading to greatly improved PISA performance. On the other hand, PISA results are sometimes a pleasant surprise. Take for example the high performance in 2012 of Vietnam – a country with low per capita income but, apparently, a very efficient education system. Around the world, interest in measuring the real learning outcomes of school students has been on the increase. The number of countries participating in the PISA study, managed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), grew from 32 in 2000 to 79 in 2018. This year, Belarus participated in the PISA assessment for the first time, with support from the Belarus Education Modernization Project, which is financed by the World Bank…

How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis  Intelligence test scores and educational duration are positively correlated. This correlation could be interpreted in two ways: Students with greater propensity for intelligence go on to complete more education, or a longer education increases intelligence. We meta-analyzed three categories of quasiexperimental studies of educational effects on intelligence: those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence, those using compulsory schooling policy changes as instrumental variables, and those using regression-discontinuity designs on school-entry age cutoffs. Across 142 effect sizes from 42 data sets involving over 600,000 participants, we found consistent evidence for beneficial effects of education on cognitive abilities of approximately 1 to 5 IQ points for an additional year of education. Moderator analyses indicated that the effects persisted across the life span and were present on all broad categories of cognitive ability studied. Education appears to be the most consistent, robust, and durable method yet to be identified for raising intelligence.

Why low-tech and outdoor play is trending in education…The children of the San Francisco Bay Area region’s elite are learning through play in a tech-free space…  Hidden behind the unremarkable frontage of a low-rise warehouse in the Mission district of San Francisco is one of the most innovative education experiments in the US. Now in its seventh year, Brightworks is turning education on its head with an approach that makes the pupil entirely responsible for shaping their own learning experience. A private school for children of all ages, Brightworks is unusual in that there are no exams, no testing or SATs, no formal curriculum, no learning objectives and no teachers, only “collaborators”. Children come to school to work on projects they devise entirely by themselves — often using power tools, drills, hammers and saws. Whether inside, creating extraordinary large-scale metal works, or outside on field trips around the Bay Area and beyond, the emphasis is on playful stress-free learning…

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